Sponsored by the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism
I had been to the Caribbean before, but it wasn’t until I explored Dominican Republic with the Ministry of Tourism that I realized just how much there was to do in the country.
The week I was able to spend in the Caribbean this October was one of the most adventure-packed weeks I have had all year! If you’re not sure about what there is to do adventure wise in a tropical country or you’re looking for a new vacation spot, then hopefully this blog will give you some ideas and put Dominican Republic on your radar. There are a ton of top things to do in Dominican Republic, but this what I would suggest for adventure lovers.
Arrive in Dominican Republic
To start your adventure off on the right foot, you’ll want to arrive in Dominican Republic via the Cibao International Airport in Santiago. Entering here will put you right where you need to be for the start of your trip!
Paragliding in Jarabacoa
I have a notable bucket list, and to my surprise, the DR is a hot spot for one of the activities on it!
Paragliding above the Jarabacoa region of Dominican Republic will leave you speechless! For this reason, paragliding is one of the top things to do in the Dominican Republic. You get 360 views of the mountains and jungle below, all while feeling the thrill of flying. Who needs a drone when you have a parachute?
Dominican Republic is home to some of the most awe-strikingly beautiful waterfalls. My group and I were able to take a short hike to Jimeona falls and swim in the water. You’ll be awe-struck by the sheer beauty and scale of this place!
Rafting the Yaque del Norte
Okay, so I suppose Dominican Republic is home to 2 items on my bucket list. Rafting on the Yaque del Norte is an experience that I will never forget and makes my list for top things to do in Dominican Republic while you’re there. While my group and I stayed on the easier rapids, there is the option for more advanced rapids as well. These beginner ones left me for a whirlwind, though!
Hike the Ebano Verde Trail
So you all know I love myself a good hike. The Ebano Verde trail was the perfect mix of jungle and views that I was looking for on this trip! The hike brought my group and I through dense forest and river crossing, making me feel a bit Indiana Jones-ish during the trek. In the end, we were rewarded with some time at a natural swimming hole. I was glad I packed my swimsuit!
Sun Bathe on Cayo Arena
If you’ve ever wanted to snorkel and swim in water as clear as gas, then Dominican Republic is the place for you! Punta Rucia and Cayo Arena had some of the bluest water I had ever seen in my life, which made for some fantastic sunrises! I would say Cayo Arena is definitely one of the top things to do in the Dominican Republic for adventure lovers. Getting to spend a day soaking up the sun on this kind of beach partially made me consider throwing my life away to become a forever beach bum.
Again, not such a shabby idea with views like this.
Depart Dominican Republic
This is the day you will, unfortunately, be departing Dominican Republic. If you chose, you could always explore Santiago before you leave! I decided to catch up on some much-needed sleep at my hotel.
Hikes, beach, rafting, paragliding and so much more adventure. What else could you want in one trip? Hopefully, this has convinced you to add Dominican Republic to your list of places to see! I’d also like to thank the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism for giving me the opportunity to explore this beautiful country. If you’re looking for more ideas for your DR trip, you can visit the Ministry’s website here.
This blog was written by Maria Camargo of Humbled By the View
Spiderman says that with great power comes great responsibility. So what does this mean in the context of recreating outdoors? If you find yourself in a place of privilege and have the ability, the means, and the “power” to spend time outdoors, then you also have the responsibility to inform yourself on how to leave the least impact possible when doing so. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, or simply like to hit the trail for a workout from time to time, you should hold yourself accountable for protecting public land so others can enjoy it for years to come. Leave No Trace is more than picking up your snack wrappers from your hike, and it’s time we all understand why.
I want to take this time to name that although I consider myself to be passionate about both the outdoors and sustainability, I haven’t always gotten this right. I’m not an expert in leaving no trace and I make mistakes all the time. However, I own my responsibility to stay educated on what I can do and educate those around me to the best of my ability to be as environmentally conscious as possible. And that’s what I hope you will get out of reading this blog post.
The History of LNT
You’re probably (at least I hope) reading this because the outdoors lights some fire inside of you and you’re intrigued on how you can do your part to take care of it on your every adventure. In this post, I’m going to attempt to take the mystery out of leave no trace (LNT) principles to make responsible recreating a critical aspect of your next outing.
But first what is it? LNT started in the 1960’s when the US Department of Agriculture began promoting a minimum impact camping message: “pack it in, pack it out.” The idea was that everything you brought with you should be taken out. It was a simple slogan to try to mitigate human impact on public land. The message developed into Leave No Trace when there was a realization that there is much more to minimizing your impact than picking up your granola bar wrapper.
In 1993, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the National Park Service (NPS) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service came on board with LNT as a universal way to encourage people to minimize outdoor impact. Educational programs were implemented, signage was made, and park rangers informed guests of their responsibility to maintain public land. Soon after that, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics became a non-profit organization dedicated to minimizing impact on public lands. The intent rooted within LNT-style programs is to raise awareness, reduce depreciative behaviors, increase knowledge, influence attitudes, and enhance visitors experience.
How do I do it?
So now that we’ve got the history of Leave No Trace locked down, what are the Leave no Trace principles and what do they mean? There are 7 official Leave No Trace principles as outlined by LNT.org, and they are:
Although some of the principles seem self-explanatory, there is usually an explanation or example required to fully understanding the intent of each principle, and that’s why we’re here. Research has found that backcountry recreationalists (probably) have a better grasp of the LNT principles and therefore implement them more frequently and effectively than front country recreationalists. However, the majority of public lands visitors are guided to front country areas (defined as areas easily accessed by car that are mostly utilized by day users) so it’s important that everyone, no matter what their adventure will look like understands what it truly means to Leave No Trace.
Plan ahead and prepare and travel and camp on durable surfaces are two principles designed to keep visitors on pre-blazed trails if you will, in order to minimize human impact on delicate surfaces. When you’re on a trail ridden with switchbacks, it’s hot, you’re hungry, and your legs hurt, it can be awfully tempting to cut the switchbacks to get to your end destination just a little bit faster. What most people don’t know, is that this shortcut can cause erosion, substantially damage or even kill fragile plantlife. This same principle exists for backcountry camping, and if there is no predetermined campsite it’s your responsibility as a conscious camper to scope out durable surfaces to set up. I grew up in Maryland where most trails are marked clearly, but as I’ve began to explore more out West it’s common for even the busiest trails to be unmarked. This is where you’ll need to plan ahead by bringing a map, examining the trail ahead of time, or using an app like AllTrails to stay on pre-existing trails to avoid negative environmental effects.
Leave what you find is simple. That cool rock looks way better in the wilderness than your kitchen table.
Minimizing campfire impact is most effectively implemented by minimizing campfires. If you are staying at a campground and there is a fire pit or a fire ring, utilize it responsibly making sure the area is cool to the touch before leaving. In the backcountry where things can get out of control quickly, especially in drier environments, it’s best to avoid fire altogether (especially if it’s prohibited, integrity folks). Camping technology is so advanced that there is no longer a need for a campfire for survival. Although it can be warm and cozy and contribute to the experience, it’s a short term benefit to your experience versus a long term benefit to the environment.
Research shows that the two least understood principles of Leave No Trace are dispose of waste properly and be considerate of others. As I mentioned before, at some point throughout the last 80 years, a misconception formed that leaving food scraps behind is an acceptable method of disposing of them because they will eventually decompose. There are two major issues with this misconception. The first is, the word “eventually” holds a heavy meaning in this context. In some places it can take up to millions years for food scraps to decompose. The second is that outside food poses an extreme danger to wildlife. When wildlife consume “human” food, they quickly become dependent on being fed and lose their ability to fend for themselves that often leads to a sooner death. So try to think twice before you or someone in your party wants to leave behind their orange peels.
Be considerate of others seems to be the most loaded principle of all. There’s so much to untangle to truly understand this principle but the easiest way to understand and implement is to use a reasonable person standard. Empathy in the outdoors is vital for you, your fellow adventurers, and the land to have an optimal experience. Sometimes it’s not that self-explanatory but that’s why there’s articles like this one and first hand accounts to learn! Although it can be fun to carry a speaker while you’re hiking and it’s easy to assume some people love the music just like you (this is something I’ve been guilty of), you’re not really in a place to make that assumption. It’s totally cool if you want to hear music but this is a time to put those headphones in to avoid impacting other people’s experiences. Another example of being considerate to others, is if you have to go, do so a healthy distance off the trail. People don’t want to step in your pee if they can avoid it.
So who’s job is it?
LNT and other sustainable practices are the responsibility of everyone. No one is exempt from the burden our planet is currently facing, so do what you can to stay informed and make easy lifestyle changes both in the outdoors and in everyday life. I challenge you to educate those around you, whether they are your friends or strangers. Most of the time individuals who seek out the outdoors carry strong values, so if they’re ignoring LNT principles it may be out of sheer ignorance that can be combated by your ability to empathetically inform them of the effects of their actions. In addition to being a LNT teacher, do your part in clean up trash or food scraps as you encounter them on the trail. You may not have been the one to drop it, but as soon as you spot it, it’s your responsibility to clean it up.
Many of these principles are the reason a lot of your favorite adventurers on instagram avoid adding a location to their posts. Location services oftentimes attracts an overwhelming amount of people to beautiful, exotic destinations, many of who have no understanding or no intention to practice LNT principles. As I did the reading in an attempt to prepare to write this blog post, I learned that rangers prefer to be educational rather than confrontational when implementing these practices. Return the favor by educating yourself and proactively protecting the land that brings joy to you and leave that opportunity open for generations to come.
Let’s take care of the outdoors the way it takes care of us.
Sponsored by Zappos
Fall is easily my favorite season. I love the cool weather, the change of color in the leaves and of course, the clothes. It’s no question that the “must-do” for me this fall would be to visit the East Coast of the United States. It’s easily one of the most beautiful fall destinations on this side of the world, and for good reason! During Autumn, the entire coast turns into a wonderland of orange and gold.
I recently spent 2 weeks driving from New York to Maine and back. Who knew there would be so much to see on a New England fall road trip? While this blog is not meant to be a hard-set itinerary for you to follow, it should give you some good ideas as to what to look for when planning your own New England fall road trip. Please note, though, that colors on the East Coast can change at any moment! I suggest following foliage maps and keeping your plans flexible. Most of the time, my group and I made last minute accommodation plans, so we were always one step away from where the color were. For this reason, I have broken this blog down by state. As always, please make sure that if you visit any of these locations you follow Leave No Trace principles.
I’d first like to turn your attention to this Merinolux Flannel from Royal Robbins. I was able to order this flannel on Zappos just in time for the fall season and give it a go on some AZ trails before heading East. Zappos offers plenty of options when it comes to flannels and other pieces of apparel. I love this Royal Robbins one, though, because of how soft it is. If you want a similar one, you can purchase it here.
While I’m aware that New York is not considered to be a part of New England, I still think it’s worth seeing! New England in general can be small, so driving to New York will not put you too far off course should you choose to go here. Watkins Glen State Park is easily one of my favorite areas of the entire New England fall road trip! Not only were the colors magical, the waterfalls were insane! On your way to Watkins Glen, you’ll be greeted by plenty of places to pull over for a quick hike, which I highly recommend. If you choose to go on the Gorge Trail, make sure you get there during the day with enough light to see it in all its glory!
The Catskills are home to places like Lake Minnewaska and the famed Kaaterskill Falls. However, my favorite part of the Catskills were the endless cabin hangs we had at the Casa Minnewaska. Hot tubs and fall weather are always a good combo.
The Catskills are also full of hidden gems you’d need a drone for! You’d be surprised what you can find on your New England fall road trip when you’re in the clouds.
Fire Watch Towers
New Hampshire is home to some of the most iconic New England fall road trip destinations like the White Mountains. A quick Google search will bring up some amazing hikes located in these areas. I suggest, however, doing something a bit different and backpacking to a fire watch tower. Unlike the PNW, the competition to stay in one of these in New England is not as steep. You’ll also be greeted with amazing sunrises, sunsets and maybe some colors from a higher perspective.
Flume Gorge is where you will find red bridges and gorge-ous (see what I did there?) views of the creek that runs through the gorge. It’s an easy 2 mile loop hike that costs $16 per person. While I realize that a $16 entry fee can be steep for a hike, the fall colors in the area make up for the view. When you’re done, you can take a drive along the Kancamagus Highway. Due to timing, my group and I skipped the highway and continued to Maine. However, if you’re a fan of road shots and droning, I highly suggest stopping here!
There are also some great island cabins across NH if you can find them on your New England fall road trip!
Acadia National Park
Maine was by far my favorite part of the entire New England fall road trip! The colors were at their peak and we did a good amount of hiking, which was a nice break in between drives.
Bass Harbor Lighthouse
We knew we had to make a stop at Acadia National Park, but little did we know how in love with it we’d be! The very first sunset we hit was at the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. This is one of the busiest places in the park, especially during sunset, so make sure you get here early to find parking!
The next morning, we caught the first sunrise in the United States at Cadillac Mountain. We were a bit disappointed by the cloud coverage, but the views of the ocean still left us in awe.
If you have time for just one thing in Acadia National Park, make sure it’s the Beehive Trail! The trail is a moderate 2 mile out and back hike that consists of metal ladders and a bit of scrambling. While the trail is not extremely difficult, it probably isn’t for the faint of heart. I will say, though, that I am beyond terrified of heights and still found the willpower to complete the hike! The way the colors danced along the horizon left me speechless. Take an amazing sunset, combine it with some fall colors and you have a recipe for perfection, which is this hike in sum.
Our days in Vermont were cut short due to the weather taking down most of the leaves. However, the moody weather made for some great road shots! I also suggest stopping at Stowe and the Sleepy Hollow Farm while on your New England fall road trip. I may have not been able to do so, but that doesn’t mean you can’t!
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect on the East Coast. I feel as though it’s not given as much credit for its amazing hidden gems like the West Coast is, which just means there’s a ton of untapped potential there when it comes to adventure spots!
I hope this blog gives you some inspiration for your next road trip. I’d also like to say thank you to Zappos for sponsoring this blog and allowing me to add a new fall staple to my wardrobe. You can buy this Royal Robbins flannel here.
All photos were taken in collaboration with Scott Reichard
Are you wondering how to see some of the most beautiful places in Peru? How does a 6 day Rainbow Mountain trek sound? I didn't know it would be something I wanted to do! I remember scrolling through Instagram and seeing someone’s pictures from Rainbow Mountain Peru. That’s when my obsession with trekking in Peru started. Then there was Machu Picchu, Cusco, and a slew of other Peruvian hot spots that suddenly became the only places I wanted to explore. Somewhere between daydreaming and thinking about how I would get there, I came across the Killa Expeditions page. Killa offers treks and guided tours through Peru. They focus on ethical and sustainable travel, making my decision to reach out to their team that much easier. I love that Killa Expeditions also makes a point to give back to the community as part of their ethical focus. They host numerous charity events and support local businesses quite frequently.
Numerous emails between the Killa Expeditions team and I finally led to a decision on a trek: the Rainbow Mountain Ausangate Package. The Rainbow Mountain Peru Trek includes 6 epic days of trekking in Peru through the Ausangate Mountain range, which brings us to Rainbow Mountain and beyond. 4 of those days will be spent getting to Rainbow Mountain while the last 2 days will include day tours and a stop at Machu Picchu. Scott and I would be photographing the entire trip. I don’t think either one of us was expecting to fall so in love with a place! What trek details do I have? How does one go about planning a similar trip? This blog is going to go over all of it! I know Peru is as much of a dream destination for most adventurers as it was for me. I’m going to make sure I go over every detail of my experience with Killa Expeditions and what to expect when getting ready to do a Rainbow Mountain trek. I’d also like to point out that Killa Expeditions and Mountain Chicks are officially partners! We will be planning treks and other Peruvian adventures together for community members and their friends for the foreseeable future. Stay tuned for those!
I didn’t know this before we met with our Airbnb hosts, but some nights, the city of Cusco turns off the water around 8pm to locals until the next morning. Keep the water in mind when choosing your accommodations and planning your nights out on the town. Water never turns off for hotels! I will say that I was happy our Airbnb was about $60 for this trip- what a steal! It was also nice that our hosts offered to store our luggage we would not be taking on our Rainbow Mountain trek. I highly recommend that you check with your accommodations beforehand to make sure they can store your luggage! You will not be able to bring all of your non-hiking belongings with you on your Rainbow Mountain trek. If you do not have many other options, you can also ask Killa Expeditions ahead of time to do this for you!
Where to Arrive
You can expect that you will have to book 2 flights to get to Cusco in order to be in the right place for your Rainbow Mountain trek! Scott and I flew into Lima and then from Lima to Cusco. Our plane tickets from LAX costed about $700 each (this is the total for our LAX to Lima and Lima to Cusco flights). Should you chose to take your Rainbow Mountain trek in the summer, you can also expect tickets to be more expensive than they might be in other months. I personally think it is worth it to pay the extra money for better weather, but that is your call!
We found a restaurant called Green Point for breakfast, which ended up being our go-to for the duration of our time at Cusco. You better believe we went back to Green Point after trekking in Peru. The rest of the day was spent catching up on sleep.
Explore Plaza De Armas
Our second day at Cusco was somewhat of a repetition of the previous day. This is when I felt like we were really starting to acclimate to the altitude before starting our 6 day Rainbow Mountain trek. There is always something going on in the city! On this particular day, Cusco was hosting a festival. If you come here on June 24th, you can enjoy Inti Rami. I imagine it is much bigger and even more colorful than the one we caught! This was a great way to build some excitement before we began our Rainbow Mountain trek.
Tipon, Pikillaqta, Andahuaylillas Day Tour
A Tipon trip is a good option for a day tour before beginning our Rainbow Mountain trek and Machu Picchu hike. Throughout the day, you’ll have the opportunity to see beautiful Inca terraces and historical sites.
During the adventure, we were able to tour this church and visit huge terraces! This was when I realized just how rich the Peruvian culture was.
Who knew there was so much to see south of Cusco?
Trekking to Rainbow Mountain Peru
The next four days, you will complete your Rainbow Mountain trek through the Ausangate Mountains. The day before, we had a trek brief with our guides. This is also they day they gave us dry bags so we could go back to our hotel, pack our day bags for the trek, then pack the dry bags for the horses to carry.
To this day, I haven’t seen glacier lakes, and mountain ranges more beautiful than these! The trek left me in awe each day. The Killa Expeditions team spared no expense to make sure we were taken care of throughout the trek. Scott and I are vegans and were somewhat worried about what we would eat during days of non-stop hiking. Their cooks were able to accommodate us with no problems! Some days I ate better than I do at home.
Can we also talk about all the Alpaca on the trail?
I’d also like to point out that you’ll be in a different hemisphere, so make sure you look up at the sky! The stars will be brighter and a little bit different than what you’ll see at home.
We also conquered a 16er and a 17er, which left my legs questioning every decision I’ve ever made. Expect that day 3 of the Rainbow Mountain trek will be the challenge day.
This sunrise portion of our Rainbow Mountain trek was pretty unreal! I couldn’t feel my toes after hiking through snow for an hour, but looking back it was quite the experience. That being said, I would expect it to be cold on your trek. Wear warm layers and prepare for the possibility of their being ice on the trail or maybe some snow!
Aguas Calientes is the town closest to Machu Picchu. It’s is relatively touristy and crowded, so be warned. You'll see plenty more tourists who have probably been trekking in Peru too! I will note, though, that most of them probably didn't just finish the Rainbow Mountain trek, so you have something to brag about.
Then you will need to wait at least another hour for the sun to come up. While I didn’t try it, I have heard of some folks having better luck roaming the ruins at sunset! It might be something to look into for when you decide to visit.
One Last Day in Cusco
Day 10 was a rest day for Scott and me. We went to the Cusco Starbucks (very touristy of us), edited photos, packed our bags, and got ready to leave for home. If you’re up for it, you can also use this day to go on another day trip. If you want plenty of tours to choose from, go trekking in Peru with a company like Killa Expeditions! You can see their selection of treks here.
Peru was nothing short of amazing! I’m already planning my return. I couldn’t be more excited to be partners with Killa and bring some more folks to this beautiful country! What part of this trip would have you feeling the most excited? Let me know in the comments below!
To learn more about Killa Expeditions and their tours, visit their website here. Happy exploring!
This blog was written by Mountain Chicks Founder Dani The Explorer
Up until I graduated college, I had never been out of the country. My family told me one day that they were planning a 2 week vacation to Italy. I knew I had to join. If I didn’t, I probably would have found an excuse to push my wanderlust in the other direction. Fast forward to 2018, and I’m now working a job that allows me to travel full time!
During my first trip to Italy, I mainly stayed along the western coast. I knew that when I went back, I had to see the Dolomites. When the opportunity presented itself for me to tag along on an epic 2 week Central Europe road trip itinerary, including the Dolomites, with four other creatives, I jumped on it!
Where to Arrive
I flew in and out of Zurich. We made our road trip into a loop that would put us back in Switzerland after it was over. This sort of 2 week Central Europe road trip itinerary is what was most convenient for us based on the countries that we wanted to see. Should you plan your own Europe road trip, try to arrive in large International airports to save money. My ticket to Zurich was around $400 because I decided to purchase my ticket during a sale. You can use apps like Hopper to keep track of flights you are thinking about purchasing! They'll let you know when tickets are sitting at a reasonable price.
When to Go
To cut some costs and skip the tourists, we decided to plan our 2 week Central Europe road trip itinerary for late May. May is the end of shoulder season in Europe while the summer months are peak season. Fall can be a great option as well; Europe turns into a beautiful palette of orange and red in autumn! I will admit, however, that a part of me wishes we would have pushed this trip back to early or mid June. Most parts of Switzerland were closed, which was a total bummer. I highly recommend looking into road construction and other happenings in your to plan your best 2 week Central Europe road trip itinerary! Most of the time, Google Maps had no idea there was a closer in place, so we found ourselves turned around.
To get the most out of our 2 week Central Europe road trip itinerary, we opted to rent a car. Since there were 5 people on this trip, we found that a van was our best option. For 2 weeks, the van was about $1,350 total. We didn't find parking to be an issue. I'm sure renting a smaller car makes it even easier to park if you plan on visiting large cities. You can definitely take trains around different parts of Europe, however, we already knew we were going to be on the road quite frequently so we knew a car would be the best option.
I went with four other folks on this road trip, and I never felt like I was in danger. The areas that we visited were mostly in remote mountain towns. Walking around at night was never an issue, and people were friendly, primarily! Remember that you’re the best judge of your safety. While I felt comfortable in my situation, always remain aware of your surroundings!
Where to Go
There are so many places you can easily add to your 2 week Central Europe road trip itinerary that would probably leave you speechless. Below I have linked the map I used to get to most of the spots I am going to discuss. Feel free to use it on your Central Europe road trip itinerary too!
Day 1 – Switzerland
Arrive in Zurich
When you arrive in Central Europe, you’ll most likely experience jet lag. I had a room booked in a hostel in Old Town Zurich, where I was able to leave my luggage, grab a coffee and relax. So this is where our 2 week Central Europe road trip itinerary will start! It was the best decision I ever made. If you’re not looking to drive to the city, you can opt to stay in one of the budget hotels closer to the Zurich airport, which will still put you at a good location for the next destination on our trip.
During our long send to Frankfurt, I was able to charge my devices using the BioLite Charge 20. Their Charge Series features durable, stainless steel chargers with a silicone gasket, making them ready for unexpected weather. It’s perfect for a country like Germany that has unpredictable weather!
Day 3 – Germany
See Eltz Castle for Sunrise
Eltz Castle, otherwise known as Burg Eltz, is one of the more popular attractions in this area, and for a good reason! Eltz ended up being one of the best parts of our 2 week Central Europe road trip itinerary. The castle looks like something straight out of a fairy-tale. I suggest catching Eltz Castle for sunrise. You’ll have the whole place to yourself, and you’ll have some of the best light for photos. Make sure you walk around the enter castle perimeter! Lush meadow and greenery surround it.
Visit Hangeseilbrukcke Geierlay
Hangeseilbrukcke Geierlay is a one of the longest suspension bridges in the mountains of Central Germany. You can visit the bridge and hike along the other trails in the area. If you’re into mountain biking, this is an excellent place for that too. After seeing the bridge, it’s time to head over to Garmisch-Partenkirchen for the next set of adventures!
Visit Neuschwanstein Castle for Sunset
Of all the castles in Germany, this was one of my favorites! Castle really help make this the best 2 week Central Europe road trip Itinerary. This castle sits upon a tall hill, making it hard to miss as you drive past it! I suggest visiting the castle for sunset- that’s when some of the best light is. Multiple trails around the castle will give you a high vantage point of the structure. Some folks like to hike along the bottom of it and drone above Neuschwanstein to get a better view overall.
Day 7 – Austria
Hallstatt is a quaint village off the shore of Lake Hallstatt. 16th-century homes line the town, making it extremely picturesque! If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to spot some swans swimming in the lake! Since the previous days of our trip were spent along the Germany-Austria border, we decided to use our time in Hallstatt to relax and get ready to see more of Slovenia/ Italy in the coming days. Hallstatt is so small and cute, there is no reason to not ad it to your 2 week Central Europe road trip itinerary. It's a great stopover for what you will be up to next!
Day 8 – Slovenia
Head Down to Soca Valley
Soca Valley is seriously one of the most underrated places! I never imagined a country like Slovenia would have such blue water…everywhere. There is a slew of hidden waterfalls here as well. You can even rent kayaks and paddle down the valley floor. If you haven’t added this area to your list of places to see, do it now! It’s an adventurist's dream. I really wish I would have had more time in this area, but I fell in love with the parts that I did see. You probably will too! I'm happy we decided to add the Soca Valley to this 2 week Central Europe road trip itinerary. I never knew blue water like this would be in Slovenia, and it made me want to go back for more!
Drive to Bled
After a day in the sun at Soca Valley, drive over to Bled. The town is quite cute and best known for Lake Bled, which you can hike above to get a better vantage point of the church in its center! I recommend seeing it for sunset if you can! The hike to the top of Bled is short with a bit of elevation gain. You can also choose to walk around the perimeter of the lake to get a different perspective of what is going on. While I loved the hike to the viewpoint, I think I liked walking the perimeter a bit better.
Drive-By Val Gardena
From here, I headed to the Val Gardena area for sunset. We took this short trail to a view that left us nothing but speechless! It was nice to have the BioLite BaseLantern XL to light up our trip down the trail once we were done!
Drive Gardena Pass
Europe has some of the windiest roads I’ve ever been on in my life. If you’re in the mood for a headache (kidding), then drive through some of them! The views from the tops of the pass are honestly gorgeous! You’ll just be a little car sick when you get there.
Take a Cable Car to Rifugio Lagazuoi
If you want more mountain views, take a tram to Rifugio Lagazuoi! The Rifugio is another mountain spot that offers a ton of hiking to visitors. There is also a cool, cylinder sauna there.
Day 13 – Switzerland
Zermatt is the gateway to the Matterhorn. You can take trams to the base of the mountain where you can hike to various lakes and viewpoints. To do sunrise and sunset here, you need to spend the night! While in Zermatt, the tour desk will be able to provide you with the most up to date information on camping and vistas up there.
Day 14 – Switzerland
Lauterbrunnen is a mountain town in Switzerland. It has “moody” vibes and waterfalls surrounding it. You can take a trail that will bring you underneath the falls! You can also take the train to smaller towns in the area to see different viewpoints of the city. Otherwise, this town is super picturesque and worth roaming around!
Visit Lake Thun
After leaving Lauterbrunnen, you can drive over to Lake Thun. There are scenic roads that go around the area and trails that give you a higher viewpoint of Thun.